Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our inaugural vegetarian food pairing!

The world of Purple Teeth Cellars has been pretty busy over the past few weeks working on projects outside of monitoring what is going on with the 2009 harvest. Don't get us wrong – the 2009 harvest is moving along nicely, but it's still long enough away where we can work on some other things. I'm going to be posting some entries this week about some great food and wine pairings that go with our current releases, and the kicker is – these are vegetarian-friendly!

Our 1st recipe is something really simple, very "summer oriented" (if you are looking for an excuse to drink red wine when the weather is warm) and will pair really well with our 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah from Mendocino County. And we'll also have you make some extra pesto so you can use it with other dishes because it is *very* tasty.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Gruyère Sandwiches with Smoky Pesto


4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded

4 English muffins, split

4 ounces Gruyère cheese, cut into 8 thin slices

Salt and pepper – amount based on your preference

Smoky Pesto

2 cups packed basil leaves

1 ½ large shallot, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon dark brown sugar

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Salt – amount based on your preference

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 people


  1. Using a food processor, combine the basil, cumin, shallot and paprika and process until finely minced. With the machine on, gradually pour in the 6 tablespoons of olive oil until blended. Season the pesto with salt. You will only need ½ of the pesto for this recipe. Set aside the remaining half of the pesto and refrigerate for use with other dishes.
  2. Light a grill – a grill pan will also work if you don't have an outdoor grill. Brush the Portolbellos with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until nicely charred and just tender, approximately 2 minutes per side.
  3. Grill the English muffins, cut side down, over low heat, until just soft, for approximately 30 seconds. Turn and grill until the muffins start to brown, about 1 minute. Spread the cut sides of the muffins with the pesto. Layer 1 slice of cheese, 1 Portolbello and 1 more slice of cheese on the bottom halves of each muffin. Close the sandwiches and brush the tops and bottoms with olive oil. Grill the sandwiches over low heat, turning, until they're crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes total. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve right away.

When we tasted this, we enlisted the help of some of our friends, which included our friends Heidi, Jim and Gure. Thanks to them for their help in preparing some of the dishes and for their very honest opinions. That's what your friends are for!

And while this dish was decent with our 2007 Alder Springs Syrah from Mendocino County and our 2007 White Hawk Syrah from Santa Barbara County, the pairing with the 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Petite Sirah was clearly the standout pairing.

So get your grill ready with some Purple Teeth Cellars and let us know what you think of this pairing. And while you are sampling, please don't forget to flash those PURPLE TEETH!

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posted by Jill B. @ 3:58 PM        0 Comments


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